November 20, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Small Business Health Care Costs: Another Reason To Advocate Medicare For All
There is a lot of talk from Republicans on the crippling effects of “Obamacare” on small businesses. But Republicans offer no solutions to rising health care costs that don’t rely on the failed experiment of for-profit health care insurance provided through your employer. Been there; Done that. It’s why health care insurance is so expensive. I fully admit the Affordable Care Act relies on a failed health care insurance model. This is why we need Medicare for all.
I received the following email from a friend:
Yesterday we had a staff meeting at my office and we were told the new rates for our insurance in 2013 would be going up by 30% next year. They then qualify this by saying that “the rates didn’t really go much up over the past few years because of the recession, so they’re just making up for that, and when you look at it that way, it’s really not all that much.”
But here’s the big news:
My small office provides health insurance to its employees (in other words, they’re covering some of the cost, and we’re supposedly getting some kind of a discount by going through the company). We can choose from two options: a HMO or a PPO. We’re assured that this is the cheapest plan they can find that still has whatever coverage/deductibles they’re interested in. A generic employee like me, who wants to get health insurance to cover himself, his spouse, and his child will have to pay over $13k per year with the HMO and $23k for the PPO!
Are you kidding?! This comes out of our pay! Even someone making $50k/year who opts for the cheaper of the two options would be left with only $37k/yr to pay for housing, student loans (we only hire people with graduate degrees), food, utilities, clothes, etc., to say nothing of actually saving something, or going out for fun once in a while. In some parts of the country this may be a lot, but it’s barely scraping by in others.
They almost couldn’t go with the PPO if they wanted to, because it would only leave them taking home $27k/yr! How can people with graduate degrees justify that salary?
So no, I don’t think forcing people to get health insurance is a good thing, if they’re being forced to get it through their employer. And the sad reality is that a large percentage of people will only be getting it that way – either because a private company won’t cover them, or because they aren’t aware there are other options, or they’re not educated enough to research options, or they don’t have time, etc. The choice between making an employee pay for healthcare themselves, or making his company pay for it is a false choice. Both options result in an epic fail for everyone involved. (Even if my office didn’t contribute financially to our healthcare, they still have someone on staff who spends a large chunk of her time each year just dealing with health insurance related paperwork.) Therefore the only logical option is for the government to provide healthcare, so that business and their employees can focus (physically and mentally) on what they do best, rather than stressing about and becoming experts on health insurance.